The New Zealand U17 Men’s National Team were defeated 79-73 in overtime by Korea in its second game at the FIBA Asia Cup in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.
The scores were tied at 66 points apiece in normal time, Korea winning the additional five minutes 13-7 to move directly into Friday’s quarter-finals.
The defeat means New Zealand will play Kuwait on Thursday in a preliminary play-off. The winner of that game also advancing to the quarter-finals.
New Zealand led by 12 points soon after half-time but found points hard to come by at the back end of the game. They will rue lost opportunities at the foul line, missing 14 of 31 attempts.
Julius Halaifonua (16 points and 17 rebounds) and Nic Book (15 points and 13 rebounds) both posted double-doubles with Dante Matakatea and Hunter Trego scoring 13 points apiece.
Book, as he had done in the opening fixture against Kazakhstan, scored the opening basket of the game, however it was Korea with an 18-15 lead by quarter time.
Will Short, debuting after missing the previous game through injury, came up with the first two scores of the second period for the Kiwis.
Matakatea gave New Zealand its first lead since the opening minute, Halaifonua doubling the advantage four minutes before half-time.
The Kiwis finished the half with an 8-2 run to lead 36-29 at the interval but New Zealand head coach Darron Larsen would have had two major concerns at the break.
Poor free-throws shooting saw his team make just 6 from 15 (40%) and 12 turnovers were given up meaning Korea had 10 more shots in the half than New Zealand. On the plus side the Kiwis were leading the rebounding count 31-14 with Halaifonua having almost as many as the whole of the Korean team – he had 12.
Hunter Trego’s triple opened the second half scoring before Korea enjoyed a 10-0 run to close within two points. Halaifonua steadied New Zealand with six points but Korea tied the game with consecutive 3-pointers – 55 apiece at three-quarter time.
A tense, low scoring final period ensued. Despite denying Korea a field goal for the first four and a half minutes of the final frame the Kiwis were struggling to break the game open leading by just three points 61-58.
George Turner made a timely three (64-60) but Korea were not finished, tying the game with two minutes to play.
Book made two go-ahead free-throws with 90 seconds to play, however Korea were able to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining. Both teams had a possession to win the game in regulation but neither accepted the opportunity.
New Zealand 73 – Halaifonua 16pts & 17rebs | Book 15pts & 13rebs | Matakatea 13pts | H Trego 13pts
Korea 79 – G lee 20pts | C You-Ko 19pts
New Zealand Schedule/Results:
Sunday June 12 v Kazakhstan W 92-67
Tuesday June 14 v Korea Lost 79-73 AOT
Thursday June 16 (Time TBC) v Kuwait
*Dates and times of play-off games will be dependent on the results of other games
The 13-team Tournament, postponed from 2021 due to Covid, doubles as a Qualifying Tournament for the U17 Men’s FIBA World Cup to be played in Spain in July – the top four teams in Doha will qualify for the Word Cup.
U17 Men’s National Team
Kaia Berridge – Tauranga City Basketball
Nic Book – Canterbury Basketball
George Grant – Basketball Otago
Julius Halaifonua – Harbour Basketball
Dante Matakatea – Basketball Auckland
William Passi – Counties-Manukau Basketball
Kalid Petzer – Basketball Auckland
Brody Perry – Franklin Basketball
Will Shortt – Basketball Auckland
Hunter Trego – New Zealand
Phoenix Trego – New Zealand
George Turner – Counties-Manukau Basketball
Head Coach – Darron Larsen
Assistant Coach – Chris Tupu
Assistant Coach – Jack Williamson
Team Manager – Scott Richardson
The U16 Asia Cup fixture schedule can be found on the link below. Live streaming will also be available on this link: